Need 2 Know: Save the track petition reaches over 18,000
Agroup of “unashamed supporters” of the Craggy Range Te Mata Peak track have formed an incorporated society to give a voice to the nearly 18,500 people who signed a recent petition to save the Craggy Range Te Mata Peak track.
Te Mata Peak Peoples’ Track Society Inc. has last month instructed its lawyer to write to Hastings District Council, putting the Council on notice of the need for public consultation on the fate of the Track, and of its intention to support the Council in defending any legal proceedings that may be brought to challenge the legality of the Track.
Peoples’ Track Society chair, George Williams said the strong support shown through the ‘Save the Craggy Range Walking Track’ online petition demonstrated that people saw the Track as a “fantastic addition to recreation and tourism in Hawke’s Bay”.
“We have formed the Society as a vehicle to promote this overwhelming public interest in retaining the Craggy Range Track.
“We are thrilled to be able to support petition initiator, Rebecca McNeur in forming an organisation to formally represent the views of those signatories. We’re thrilled that Rebecca has agreed to join the Society as secretary.”
Peoples’ Track Society spokesman, Xan Harding added, “We stand for a fair hearing for the significant number of people in Hawke’s Bay who support retention of the Track, far more than those that opposed it. We also adamantly believe in the need for a balanced and objective approach to determining its fate.
“We acknowledge that Iwi have a particular interest in Te Mata Peak and were not properly consulted about the Track. “Now there needs to be local dialogue, local consensus building and the pursuit of win-win solutions to heal the division within our community,” said Mr Harding.
“Te Mata Peak undoubtedly has outstanding landscape value that should be protected but it is also an outstanding recreational feature for the region and embodies significant cultural, biodiversity and tourism values as well. All these things are important, and it should be up to the people of Hawke’s Bay to decide.”
Today Te Mata Peak Peoples’ Track Society Inc. launched an appeal via the Givealittle.co.nz crowd funding website, to raise a fighting fund to support the case for retention of the Track. Funds raised will go towards defending potential legal action, and for betterment of the Track.
The zig zag track on the eastern face of Te Mata Peak was created by Craggy Range Winery, on land it owned opposite the Giants Winery on Waimarama Road, Hastings. Hastings District Council granted resource consent for the Track and it was constructed late in 2017. Over the summer many people walked the Track amidst vocal opposition and support for its creation, which included the ‘Save the Craggy Range Walking Track’ petition.
The Track was subsequently closed by Craggy Range Winery, but people have continued to walk and enjoy it.
Conditions of consent for the Track included a perpetual access easement for the benefit of the people of Hawke’s Bay. Legal action against the Track has been threatened by Auckland-based lobby group, the Environmental Defence Society. Above: The track on Te Mata Peak. Right: The three founding members of the society: from left: George Williams, Rebecca McNeur and Xan Harding.